Synonyms & Antonyms of rank

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 to take or have a certain position within a group arranged in vertical classes
  • my favorite pitcher ranks first in the league for number of consecutive outs

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Synonyms & Antonyms of rank (Entry 2 of 3)

1 the placement of someone or something in relation to others in a vertical arrangement
  • attained the highest rank in the Freemasons

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2 high position within society
  • remembered as a woman of rank who socialized only with other members of the elite

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3 a series of people or things arranged side by side
  • rank upon rank of cavalry came thundering down the hill

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4 usually ranks plural one of the units into which a whole is divided on the basis of a common characteristic
  • this book will someday join the ranks of the world's great novels

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Synonyms & Antonyms of rank (Entry 3 of 3)

1 growing thickly and vigorously
  • covered with trumpet vines so rank you couldn't see the trellis beneath them

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2 having an unpleasant smell
  • smokes rank cigars that usually send me running for fresh air

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See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About rank

How is the word rank distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of rank are fetid, fusty, malodorous, musty, noisome, putrid, and stinking. While all these words mean "bad-smelling," rank suggests a strong unpleasant smell.

rank cigar smoke

How do fusty and musty relate to one another, in the sense of rank?

Both fusty and musty suggest lack of fresh air and sunlight, fusty also implying prolonged uncleanliness, musty stressing the effects of dampness, mildew, or age.

a fusty attic

the musty odor of a damp cellar

When is malodorous a more appropriate choice than rank?

The synonyms malodorous and rank are sometimes interchangeable, but malodorous may range from the unpleasant to the strongly offensive.

malodorous fertilizers

In what contexts can noisome take the place of rank?

While the synonyms noisome and rank are close in meaning, noisome adds a suggestion of being harmful or unwholesome as well as offensive.

a stagnant, noisome sewer

When might putrid be a better fit than rank?

Although the words putrid and rank have much in common, putrid implies particularly the sickening odor of decaying organic matter.

the putrid smell of rotting fish

How are the words stinking and fetid related as synonyms of rank?

Both stinking and fetid suggest the foul or disgusting.

prisoners were held in stinking cells

the fetid odor of skunk cabbage

Learn More About rank

Time Traveler for rank

Time Traveler

The first known use of rank was in the 13th century

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Thesaurus Entries Near rank

ran into


rank and file

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Cite this Entry

“Rank.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on rank

Nglish: Translation of rank for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rank for Arabic Speakers


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